Concerns over ambulance target ‘failings’ in Lincolnshire

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AMBULANCE bosses have been called before county councillors to explain why they are failing to meet their targets.

The government wants East Midlands Ambulance Service to send a paramedic or first responder to 75 per cent of patients whose life is in danger within eight minutes of a call.

And an ambulance and crew should be on the scene within 19 minutes 95 per cent of the time.

But figures released by Lincolnshire County Council show the service is not meeting its targets.

In May this year, only 73% of calls in Lincolnshire were met by a paramedic or first responder within eight minutes, and 86% were met by an ambulance and crew within 19 minutes. The figures are similar for April.

Chairman of the council’s health scrutiny committee councillor Christine Talbot said: “In an attempt to see improvements in our county, we asked East Midlands Ambulance Service to explain why targets are being met for the East Midlands but not Lincolnshire.

“Our residents deserve better.

“We remained unsatisfied by their reasons and limited suggested improvements.

“We’ve therefore asked the chief executive, chair and head of finance to attend the September committee to explain why nothing is moving forward, in a bid to see improvements for residents

“A next step after this could be recommending writing to the Secretary of State.”

The council says that 20 new ambulances promised by the service are actually replacements, not additions, meaning the county has been served by the same number of vehicles for 18 months without improvement.

This is despite an increase in call volume.

East Midlands Ambulance Service says its targets are set for a division which includes north and north east Lincolnshire, not just the area the county council covers, and it is meeting some of those targets.

Spokesman Phil Morris said: “We are not commissioned by NHS Lincolnshire to achieve performance standards in Lincolnshire alone, we are commissioned on a divisional basis including north and north east Lincolnshire.

“Therefore, we feel that it is not appropriate for us to be criticised for failing to do something we’re not funded to do.

“In April and May, we exceeded the target for responding to 75% of life threatening calls within eight minutes (over the Lincolnshire division).

“Importantly, this means we are getting to more people faster when they need help for an immediately life threatening condition.

“We accept that our performance during April and May for responding to 95% of calls within 19 minutes fell short of the target.

“However, performance is measured over a full year and our aim is to achieve both targets for 2011/12.”

East Midlands Ambulance Service does not produce statistics for Rutland.